No-one will be surprised by the choice of poem today. The passing of Seamus Heaney is a sad, sad thing and we have lost a poet who wrote works of great depth and beauty.
I have chosen ‘The Baler’ for three reasons; 1. In the countryside the balers are going full tilt after the late harvest, 2. It comes from his latest volume ‘Human Chain’ pub. Faber and Faber in 2010 and 3. Baling is the last thing that is done after the harvest and before the ground is ploughed ready for the new crop – which seemed strangely apposite.
The Baler – by Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)
All day the clunk of a baler
So taken for granted
It was evening before I came to
To what I was hearing
And missing: summer’s richest hours
As they had been to begin with,
And nearly rewarded enough
By the giddied-up race of a tractor
At the end of the day
Last-lapping a hayfield.
But what I also remembered
As woodpigeons sued at the edge
Of thirty gleaned acres
And I stood inhaling the cool
In the dusk Eldorado
Of mighty cylindrical bales
Was Derek Hill’s saying,
The last time he sat at our table,
He could no longer bear to watch
The sun going down
And asking please to be put
With his back to the window.